Watch Klay Thompson score 17 in memorable return to Warriors

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That’s how much Klay Thomson’s return meant for the Warriors: Draymond Green wasn’t going to play due to a lingering hip problem, but he wanted to be in the starting lineup with Thompson. So Green adjusted, was there for the introductions and the opening advice, then fouled and was substituted. He just needed to be there.

After more than two years, Klay Thompson’s return to the court could not have gone better: 17 points, 3 of 8 of 3, all in 20 minutes. And there was an awesome dunk.

“It’s a night I’ll never forget” Thompson said in his exit interview.

You knew the Warriors were going to hit Thompson early on. Steve Kerr said the first play was not prepared for Thompson, but once he got the ball he came out of a screen Juan Toscano-Anderson, ran to the edge and hit a lay-up on Jarrett Allen.

The Warriors can afford to relieve Thompson with Jordan Poole coming off the bench behind him; Poole had 14 points on the night. Stephen Curry looked comfortable next to his Splash Brother and led all scorers with 28.

Thompson had missed more than two years after tearing his ACL for the first time in the 2019 NBA Finals. Then, during rehabilitation, he tore his Achilles tendon, resulting in another setback. Thompson kept his head down (well, except when he was on his boat), got to work and pushed for the day.

The Warriors were victorious 96-82, and again, it was their best defense in the league that was the real key. The Warriors kept the Cavaliers at an offensive rating of 90.1 for the game. As Thompson gets back into shape he will improve this defense even more.

If the Warriors had lost, it wouldn’t have been the same. But they didn’t and everyone felt good.

Because Klay Thompson is back on the pitch.

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